Old Well

I. Cheng, Author China Books & Periodicals $16.95 (154p) ISBN 978-0-8351-2275-7
Chinese novelist Zheng is gifted with the ability to make an engrossing story of a village's mundane quest for water. Old Well, a Chinese mountain village afflicted with drought for much of its 1000 years, has seen life forced into ``a pattern of bitterness and despair.'' But in the early 1980s the village finds hope for the perennial search for water, and for ultimate survival, in youthful Wangquan, educated in geology, and Qiaoying, well-versed in agronomy. Wangquan and Qiaoying also happen to be passionately--and futilely--in love; Wangquan is committed to a high-powered arranged marriage. His conflict results in a veritable tug-of-war between traditional village existence and modern ways, his deep feelings for Qiaoying, who longs for the freedom and urbanity of Beijing, pitted against Wangquan's ``love for this patch of bone-dry earth and his well.'' Zheng skillfully sprinkles bits of Chinese magic and myth throughout the tale. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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